Posted by James Zhang
London Metropolitan Police have arrested Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. As a mastermind who is behind one of the largest ever leaks of government secrets, he might also have to face a U.S. extradition. Since his case will test the principle of freedom of the press for which the U.S. government has valued, it is interesting to see how the public has reacted to Julian Assange and his case on social media.
Across the nation, over the past week, a total of 512,000 social media posts have discussed Julian Assange and his arrest on Twitter and different online forums. The social media conversation reached its peak on April 11, when the news about the arrest of Julian Assange came out. The main influencers who have been driving the social media conversations are ABC News, CNN, and CNN breaking news.
Several keywords have been frequently mentioned on social media. They are “Assange,” “Wikileaks,” “#wikileaks,” “journalists,” and “journalism.” Speaking to the word “journalist,” some social media users have expressed their dissatisfaction with the arrest of Julian Assange. They have argued that this arrest would put a chilling effect on freedom of the press. Along with this line, some were even more cynical. They have said “journalism is literally dying” on social media. In terms of the word “journalism,” some have expressed their worries and concerns on the First Amendment rights.
The overall sentiment on social media regarding the arrest of Julian Assange is negative. Specifically, more than sixty-five percent of social media posts have expressed negativity. Most negative tweets are associated with President Trump’s proclamation that he knew nothing about Wikileaks.
Since Julie Assange case intertwines national security issue with freedom of the press, the public for sure will keep carrying out the conversation about it in the near future.